Cloning Essay, Research Paper
Should Humans Be Cloned? Human embryo cloning should not be done because of the religious, moral,ethical, and social concerns that it places upon the human race. Although there may besome positive affects to cloning humans, there are far too many opposing factors in thissituation. Many religious leaders of expressed their concern and condemnation of humancloning. The moral and ethical aspects outweigh any scientific evidence, and the socialconcerns are frightening. The most important question that needs to be asked, is whetherthe gains out weigh the losses–the gains being scientific research and the losses being thereligious, moral, ethical, and social concerns that it poses on today s society. A clone, as defined in The Human Genome Project, is; 1. a population ofgenetically identical unicellular organisms or viruses arising from successive replicationsof a single ancestral unicellular organism or virus. 2. a recombinant clone. 3. thefragment of foreign DNA contained in each member of a recombinant clone. 4. apopulation of identical cells arising from the culture of a single cell of a certain type,such as a human fibroblast or a rodent-human hybrid cell containing a full set of rodentchromosomes and a single human chromosome. Human embryo cloning starts with astandard in vitro fertilization procedure. Sperm and an egg cell are mixed together on aglass dish. After conception, the zygote (fertilized egg) is allowed to develop into ablastula (a hollow mass of cells). The zygote divides first into two cells, then four, theneight… A chemical is added to the dish to remove the zona pellucida covering; thismaterial provides nutrients to the cells to promote cell division. With the coveringremoved, the blastula is divided into individual cells which are deposited on individualdishes. They are then coated with an artificial zona pellucida and allowed to divide anddevelop. That is how a human embryo clone is made using the twinning method. Some scientists believe that human embryo cloning and related research can havesome positive results, however, many religious leaders feel that cloning and relatedresearch should not be permitted. Religion and science have been involved in an ongoingbattle over many subjects in the past, but human embryo cloning has caused the biggestdebate thus far. Many religious philosophies teach that human life is unique and specialand should be created, determined and controlled only by their deities. Many religionsbelieve in the existence of, and in the individuality of, a human soul. Some people,particularly Evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics believe that a soul enters thebody at the instant of conception, and the fertilized ovum is in fact a human being. Dividing that baby in half would interfere with God s intent. And the many clonedzygotes that died after a few cell divisions would be lost human beings; their loss isconsidered as serious as the death of a new born baby. These same conservativeChristians would also be distressed at the use of cloning to weed out genetically defectivefertilized ovums. The procedure would result in the killing of one of the clones duringthe genetic testing. Since they regard all of the clones as separate human beings, thiswould be murder. The Church of Scotland has extensively studied aspects of cloning. The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has passed a motion to reaffirm theirbelief in the basic dignity and uniqueness of each human being under God. They expressthe strongest possible opposition to the cloning of human beings and urge to press for acomprehensive international treaty to ban it worldwide. Jeremy Rifkin, president of theFoundation on Economic Trends in Washington DC, leads a coalition of 300 religiousand ethics organizations from around the world. He proposes a worldwide ban oncloning, saying it should carry a penalty on a par with rape, child abuse, and murder. Aside from the religious aspect, human cloning has brought up many moral andethical questions. The National Institute of Health set up a medical panel to form apreliminary set of guidelines to help bridge the gap between scientists and society. Theyrecommend that research be permitted on preexisting embryos. The embryos would beallowed to develop up to and including the fourteenth day. The panel suggested that the
research be permitted after the fourteenth day of development depending on thecircumstances, but definitely not after the eighteenth day , when the neural tube closurebegins. The neural tube is the beginning of the nervous system, including the brain inadult humans. The experiments that the panel recommended to be banned includeimpregnating human embryos in other animal species, impregnating cloned embryos intohumans, the use of embryos for sex selection, or the transfer of one nucleus from oneembryo to another. Some individuals have expressed social concerns about cloning. We live in asociety where people are willing to do all kinds of things for money. A type of blackmarket for embryos could easily develop. Parents already spend a great deal of money onin vitro fertilization, who knows how much they would be willing to pay for cloning theirchildren? Shannon Brownlee of US News & World Report claims, A bizarrepossibility to consider is that a woman conceived from a split embryo could give birth toher own twin. This possibility only begins the crazy affects that cloning can have onsociety. What would one think if they were walking down the street and they saw amother and her children walking side by side and they were identical looking just ofdifferent ages. Just think, how would you explain the concept of cloning to yourchildren? What if a country were to finance a program similar to that of Nazi Germanywhereby humans were bed to maximize certain traits. Once the perfect human wasdeveloped, embryo cloning could be used to replicate that individual and conceivablyproduce unlimited numbers of clones. The same approach could be used to create agenetic underclass for exploitation: e.g. individuals with sub-normal intelligence andabove normal strength. Richard Seed, a physicist from Illinois, is attempting to establisha human cloning clinic. He claimed on January 7, 1998 that he was 90% complete inhiring a team of experts to attempt the cloning of a human being, following theexperiments of Dolly. If successful, the resultant child would have identical DNA toone of its parents. Louise Brown, a fertility expert who helped produce the first test-tubebaby in 1978 said, My first reaction is that here is somebody trying to make a quickbuck off of self-advertising, because of course there is no way you could make a clone ahuman being safely at this point. I think the man is clearly unhinged and I don t think heis to be taken seriously. Marion Bamewood, a member of the board of the AmericanSociety for Reproductive Medicine said, I have very serious reservations about cloninghuman beings. The society has declared a 5 year voluntary ban on cloning humans. Mr.Seed responded, I can t really answer the critics who think it s a bad idea. They ll neverbe persuaded. As far a I m concerned, they have rather small minds and a rather smallview of the world and a rather small view of God. In a 1997 CNN poll conducted among 1005 American adults has a margin oferror of 3%. They found: 89% felt that cloning humans was morally unacceptable 66% felt that cloning animals was morally unacceptable 69% is scared of the possibility of cloning humans 74% believe that human cloning is against God s will, 19% say that it is not. Not all of the effects of human cloning are negative. For instance, cloning couldproduce a reservoir of spare parts . Fertilized ovum s could be cloned into multiplezygotes; one could be implanted in the woman and allowed to develop into a normalbaby; the other zygotes could be frozen for future use. The question is, is the second twinobligated to give up a part of his body for his earlier twin? And what if the secondtwin has the same missing spare part ? In the event that the child require a bonemarrow transplant, one of the zygotes could be taken out of storage, implanted, allowedto mature to a baby and then contribute some of its spare bone marrow to its (earlier)identical twin. The question here is, What if the second twin also has defective bonemarrow, are both the twins to die? Also, cloning using the DNA from the cell of an adultwith the desired traits or talents might produce an infant with similar potential. Althoughthere are some positive effects of human cloning, the religious, moral, ethical, and socialconcerns far outweigh those of scientific evidence. We live in a highly intelligent andvery sensitive society. The possible harm that cloning could cause must never beoverlooked.